February 22, 2012

Growing Media Supplier Loses $39 Million Lawsuit Over Fertilizer

Two Canadian farmers won a multimillion dollar lawsuit last week against British Columbia-based Sun Gro Horticulture and Woodburn Fertilizer Company, claiming Sun Gro’s Multicote 15-9-12+ Minors controlled-release fertilizer cost them millions of dollars in lost crops and customers. Sun Gro is the designer of Multicote and Woodburn Fertilizer is the company that manufactured it. According to OregonLive.com, Jag Aujila, who owns JRT Nurseries in British Columbia and Washington state, was awarded nearly $12 million in direct economic losses for the death of his plants, $22.5 million for the loss of customers and nearly $5 million in interest. Aujila’s attorney convinced a jury Multicote killed 4.1 million of JRT’s blueberry plants and hundreds of thousands of other plants based on side-by-side comparisons between crops with Multicote and crops without it. “It was kind of like a giant sixth-grade science experiment: Wherever the other fertilizers were used, the plants thrived,” says Larry […]

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November 9, 2011

Fafard’s Advice For Managing Through The Peat Shortage

The North American horticultural industry is currently dealing with a peat moss shortage caused by poor weather conditions in eastern Canada. The wet conditions impacted all peat companies with bogs in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where two-thirds of the peat is harvested. Eastern Canada produced only 30-40% of its anticipated harvest for 2011. The variables regarding how this will affect our industry and individual growers are the following: 1) How much carry-over inventory from the 2010 harvest did each company have on-hand this summer? 2) How much peat from western Canada can economically be shipped eastward to cover shortages? 3) How much peat and mix do growers have on-hand due to a poor 2011 sales year? 4) How much peat can be economically shipped from European sources to cover shortages in the eastern US? 5) How much has our industry been impacted over the past few years due […]

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November 9, 2011

Peat Shortage Among Topics Discussed At Field Day

Syngenta’s Discovery Center, Anderson, S.C. Syngenta Flowers recently hosted 60-plus growers and brokers at a fall field day last month in Anderson, S.C. The field day was an opportunity for Syngenta Flowers and Fafard to answer questions with growers on this year’s peat shortage. Syngenta indicates growers are considering growing media with less peat and more bark, coir and other ingredients. “We’re able to show them how we make these mixes and how our genetics respond to them,” says Jamie Gibson, technical services manager with Syngenta. Learn more about Syngenta online at Syngenta.com.

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November 9, 2011

Fafard Gains Veriflora Certification For Its Peat Production

Fafard has received the Veriflora certification for responsible horticultural peat moss and peatlands management, it reports. The certification allows Fafard to market its peat products as certified. Most of Fafard’s blends include peat moss. The Veriflora program is an extensive one that focuses on the expected environmental practices and also social and product-quality standards. "Receiving the Veriflora certification … elevates us in the industry and demonstrates our concern for day-to-day operations, our producers," says Bruce Adams, Fafard head of operations. Veriflora is run by Scientific Certification Systems, a third-party certifier. For Fafard peat moss to receive the certification, Fafard had to prove it restores wetland ecosystems, reduces its environmental footprint during production, conserves energy, reduces residual materials in landfills and ensures fair labor practices and community benefits. It’s a long process to gain certification, says bog operations manager Ernie Basque. Learn more about Fafard at Fafard.com. Learn more about VeriFlora […]

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November 9, 2011

The Peat Shortage: A Look At The Next Harvest

Paul Short Paul Short, the president of the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), weighs in on the peat industry’s 2012 harvesting plans, the availability of retail peat next spring and other peat-related issues surrounding this year’s peat shortage. GG: CSPMA members represent nearly all of North America’s peat production: How are your members advising growers to react in terms of buying and using peat moss PS: The [peat] industry is encouraging each grower to work directly with the peat producer to identify solutions on a case by case and company by company basis. GG: What effect is this shortage having on pricing and the availability of straight peat versus mixes? PS: To date, what is emerging from producers is a deliberate trend to prioritize mix volumes over straight peat supply. The outcome may be a challenge to the availability of straight peat products. GG: If growers cannot access the […]

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October 31, 2011

Q&A: Charles Bethke Answers Your Questions

Charles Bethke weighs in on questions that went unanswered during the hour-long “Managing Through The Peat Shortage” webinar Oct. 18. Q: What does the p in pH stand for? A: That’s the negative log of the hydrogen ion activity. It’s a chemical designation for the concentration of hydrogen ions floating around loosely in a solution. Q:  Please clarify what "incubate the mix" means for folks. Often times they do not wet the mix in this process. A: When I used incubate I mean moisture the soil to normal use levels and store at use temperatures for two or more weeks. That will give us the impact of the various components in the blend. Q: Do you expect companies that offer pre made mixes in filled flats, pots or bulk bags to still offer these as in the past or will these higher priced peat based products be short as well? […]

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October 27, 2011

Jiffy’s Advice For Managing Through The Peat Shortage

With the weather-induced peat shortage having a tremendous impact for the 2012 growing season, most growers are paying more attention to peat and other growing substrates than ever before. At Jiffy, we have many decades of producing peat products, from Jiffy Pellets to peat pots to Preforma. Now, we have blended substrates with Jiffy Mix powered by TREF. Some background might be helpful as growers continue to evaluate their different growing options. As growers know, all peat moss is not the same. Even peat from the same bog may have different characteristics based on harvest method and handling, as well as fraction size. Typically, longer fibers, along with other mix components, will minimize soil compaction. When blended in the correct percentages, those fiber lengths will provide a unique and balanced mix based on crop timing and container size. When we look globally at each market, the European growers tend to […]

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October 27, 2011

Rekyva’s Peat & Its Effects On Flowers & Veggies

Most of the environment factors that influence the growth of plants and their productivity can be controlled (roots’ medium, fertilization, light, temperature, humidity, etc.). Substrate is one of the factors that truly influence the growth of plants and their development, productivity, since it determines the quality of the roots system. When preparing soil or substrate for growing, it is important to consider their needs and the use. Most often for flowers, easily aerating and water permeable mix of different soils with different reactions is prepared. Substrates for roots of plants must provide as good as possible aeration conditions for the uptake of nutrient. Peat mixes, in which one of the compounds is zeolite, are widely used. The use of bentonite in the production of substrates is also being investigated. In April to June of 2011 in the Botanical Garden of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Šiauliai University, an investigation […]

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October 27, 2011

Heveco: Next Steps To Managing Through The Peat Shortage

Respect for our environment has always been a company value but in 2011, more than ever, we need to adhere to this value. Weather fluctuations are not expected to stabilize, which means unpredictable harvests from one season to another. Being a peat producer, this year is a wake-up call as Mother Nature has truly been against us during harvest. This situation brings us to rethink how we can help growers with new peat mixes without compromising performance, as well as help them with advice on making good use of the peat available and with effective solutions that will put less stress on peat inventories. In a situation of peat shortage, the use of high quality peat should be maintained for crops that are more demanding and that provide added value or higher profit, because it remains the best growing media. Other crops and bedding plants that are more resistant could […]

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October 27, 2011

HortiPro’s Sub-R As A Peat Substitute

Growers in North America are aware that a large shortage of peat moss is projected for the coming growing season. HortiPro is bringing a replacement for peat moss to the market with a growing medium called Substrate-R, or Sub-R. Some of the attributes of Sub-R include: • Water-holding capacity over 60 percent and low salt below 0.4 EC is comparable to peat moss. • High readily available water of more than 30 percent to plants with superior capillary properties • Uniform quality • Antiseptic, Sub-R naturally suppresses root disease • Continuous availability Sub-R can be custom produced for different needs for different growers in more fine or coarse forms, and in blends with different amendments. Complete physical and chemical property reports are available to growers. Similar To Peat Growers who take advantage of Sub-R as a peat moss replacement for growing in smaller containers and propagation trays will find that […]

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October 24, 2011

How You Can Use Compost As A Substrate Additive

Longwood Gardens, an 1,100-acre display garden in Kennett Square, Pa., has a compost production facility that produces more than 2,500 cubic yards of quality compost every year. This compost is used in a variety of ways at the gardens, including greenhouse production. Using compost as a substrate additive for greenhouse crops has several benefits. First, most compost is locally produced from waste products, making it one of the most sustainable substrate ingredients. This feature can also be used as a marketing tool to let consumers know they are buying a “green” product. Properly produced compost also contains large amounts of beneficial microorganisms and has been shown to provide some level of disease suppression. The beneficial microorganisms out-compete the pathogenic microorganisms, making it more difficult to establish themselves in the substrate and on the roots of growing plants. Additionally, compost typically contains a nutrient charge that can offset some fertilizer costs. […]

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